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Local Food Systems
This comprehensive overview of local food systems explores alternative defi nitions of local food, estimates market size and reach, describes the characteristics of local consumers and producers, and examines early indications of the economic and health impacts of local food systems. 

There is no consensus on a defi nition of “local” or “local food systems” in terms of the geographic distance between production and consumption. But defi ning “local” based on marketing arrangements, such as farmers selling directly to consumers at regional farmers’ markets or to schools, is well recognized. Statistics suggest that local food markets account for a small, but growing, share of U.S. agricultural production. For smaller farms, direct marketing to consumers accounts for a higher percentage of their sales than for larger farms. 

Findings are mixed on the impact of local food systems on local economic development and
better nutrition levels among consumers, and sparse literature is so far inconclusive about whether localization reduces energy use or greenhouse gas emissions.

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